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The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum allows visitors to climb into their F/A-18 Hornet aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Nov. 17. The museum celebrated the F/A-18’s 35th anniversary of its first flight with the aircraft itself on display and additional models and information for visitors to see.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Michael Thorn

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum honors the F/A-18’s first flight

19 Nov 2013 | Story by Lance Cpl. Michael Thorn

In celebration of the F/A-18 Hornet’s 35th anniversary, The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum let visitors climb into the cockpit of an actual F/A-18 and added an additional display in the museum aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Nov. 16-17.

“We opened up the F/A-18 on display for service members and their families to see it inside and out,” said Stephen “Smitty” Smith, the museum’s curator. “We wanted visitors to experience the craft on the weekend, since the actual day of the anniversary is on the 18th when the museum is normally closed.”

In 1977, the F/A-18 received its name “Hornet” from William Graham Clayton Jr., the Secretary of the Navy at the time. The concept of the aircraft originates from heavy modifications of the YF-17 Cobra, in order to become a carrier-capable fighter jet. McDonnell Douglas and Northop developing companies created the fighter jet together, with McDonnell Douglas conducting the final assembly. From there, it went on its first flight Nov. 18, 1978.

“The F/A-18 is a strong part of our history on display at the museum,” said Ron Lewis, the foundation historian at the museum. “Aircrafts like this show how much we have advanced in the military over the years.”

Lewis assisted visitors to the museum get into the cockpit of the fighter jet and told stories of its historical significance.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum holds events such as this to spread the valuable history in Marine Corps Avionics. The museum is completely free and open to the public for those who want to learn more.
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing